The treatment of a ball boy at the FFA Cup final between Adelaide United and Sydney FC this week has sparked debate across Australia.
Adelaide player Michael Marrone was handed a red card and ordered off the pitch during extra time for what appeared to be a push on the ball boy when he held the ball rather than throwing it back into play.
The ball boy was knocked to the ground and appeared shaken by the incident.
Within seconds, Marrone was angrily challenged by Sydney FC substitute Matt Simon, who ran in and shoved Marrone away from the ball boy. Players from the visitors’ bench ran over to protect their teammate as an ugly brawl spilt over into the Allianz Stadium tunnel before Marrone was sent from the field.
Marrone may be handed a multiple match ban by the FFA (Football Federation Australia), but reaction to Tuesday night’s incident has been mixed.
Channel Nine sports presenter Tim Gilbert said Marrone’s actions send the wrong message to kids in sport.
“That ball boy — how does he feel now? Does he want to go back and be there? Does he want to be a part of it?” Gilbert said. “That’s the wrong message to send to any young person involved in any sport.”
Former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Bosnich said the ball boy should have handed Marrone the ball straight away, but declared there was still “no excuse” for the 30-year-old’s reaction.
“There’s no excuse … You should never ever do something like that to a ball boy,” Bosnich said
“But one must say the ball boy did turn away from Marrone rather than just throwing him the ball.
But not everyone was so scathing* of Marrone, putting equal parts blame on the ball boy.
Some believed the ball boy exaggerated the impact of Marrone’s contact, suggesting he may have taken a leaf out of the players’ book* by taking a dive to slow the game down even further.
Although Sydney player Matt Simon reacted strongly to Marrone’s actions at the time, after the game he put his opponent’s act down to match pressure.
“We know Mike. He hasn’t got that in him. It was a heat of the moment thing on the sideline,” Simon told Fox Sports.
“It was a bit of a scuffle* but at the end of the day, I don’t think anything too serious … I don’t think there’s too much in it. Those things happen in the heat of the moment. We’ll just enjoy the win and move on.”
Adelaide United coach Marco Kurz said he and Marrone had apologised to the boy after the match at Allianz Stadium in Sydney.
“I said after the game to the ball boy, ‘I am sorry in this moment’ and also to the dad,’’ Kurz said.
“It’s not his nature and now I hope after the talked it (the ball boy) was OK.
“From my side and also from the players’ side we say sorry.”
Despite the ball boy appearing shaken after the scuffle, his night ended on a happy note when the Sydney players invited him to take part in their celebrations, after winning the match 2-1.
Michael Zullo put his winner’s medal around the youngster’s neck and Matt Simon let him hold up the trophy as the men in blue savoured* the cheers from the home crowd.
“We got him up because he put his body on the line for the club,” Zullo said.
taken a leaf out of the players’ book: learnt behaviour from the players’ dramatic dives on the field
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Activity 1. A difference in opinion
The news article includes opinions from a variety of people about the incident.
• one quote from a person who defends Michael Marrone’s actions and highlight it in green
• one quote from a person who condemns Marrone’s actions and highlight it in pink
• one quote from a person who sees the incident from both sides and highlight it in orange
Based on all of the information in the article, what do you think the overall opinion is about Marrone’s actions?
In a few sentences, explain your opinion on what happened.
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English
Activity 2. In the heat of the moment
One of the defences mentioned for Marrone’s actions was that he had acted “in the heat of the moment”, meaning he had been caught up in the emotions he was feeling and acted before thinking.
Think of a time that you have felt upset, angry, embarrassed or frustrated and have acted in the heat of the moment by doing something that you wouldn’t normally do and that you regretted afterwards.
Write a description of what happened, how you were feeling when it happened, how you felt afterwards and anything you did to fix the situation.
Brainstorm some strategies that people can use to help calm themselves down, instead of lashing out, when faced with heightened emotions.
Consider all of the options and decide which one you think would be most effective for you.
Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Personal and Social Capability
(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)
Write a Letter
Choose a person or character from the article and write them a letter.
Your letter must include some ambitious vocabulary, one or more level three connectives, one or more power opener and correct punctuation.
Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP
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